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Re: Use of the term "notarised signature"?
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On Thu, May 29, 2003 at 07:33:26PM -0400, Derek Atkins wrote:
> This is orthogonal to the issue of whether the OpenPGP Notarized
> Signature is useful to a "Notary" (in the legal sense). Making
> something that is useful is a Good Thing (TM). I'd rather make
> something useful than make something non-useful. But not being
> a lawyer (or a Notary) I don't know what would be useful.
I did some research on this a while back. One of the services that a
(U.S.) notary provides is "acknowledgment", which to my non-notary eye
looked reasonably close to what we're talking about here. This is the
notary taking note that a document was signed, and documenting the
fact that notice was taken. The contents of the document are
generally irrelevant here: just that it was signed and the signer
requested a notary to note that fact (and presumably witness the
making of the signature). The main difference between an
acknowledgment and this is that generally an acknowledgment contains
the statement that the original signer signed the document by his/her
own free will.
When I asked a lawyer and notary friend about it, she said that the
match I had imagined wasn't so good. In general, real life notary
functions are far more concerned with identification of the signer
than they are about the immutability of the signed document or
signature itself. Could the building blocks (signature, notary
signature) we have in OpenPGP be usable to a real notary? Maybe - but
a number of underlying laws and/or assumptions and/or infrastructure
would have to change first.
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